Saturday, February 06, 2016

WW-II airstrips may soon connect towns

The Niti Ayog has proposed a plan to connect smaller towns through feeder airports using the more than 150 British time airstrips lying idle all over the country. The infrastructure can be used for low cost airlines to operate from cities having no air connectivity now. The idea may find place in the forthcoming civil aviation policy, said Dr V K Saraswat, a Niti Ayog Member and former director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Saraswat was in the city to attend the Innovators Industries Entrepreneurs and Facilitators (IIEFA) conference organized by RSS' affiliated Vijnana Bharti. The three-day meet is aimed at bringing leading government research agencies and small and mid-sized industries together to share knowhow.
"Even today air connectivity is mainly between two major cities. After reaching the nearest airport, the person has to again travel 8 to 10 hours to many smaller centres through road or rail. The distance can be bridged by feeder airports. Smaller turboprop aircraft can be a better option economically for such distances," he said. The idea was somewhat akin to what Captain Gopinath of Air Deccan had floated, said Saraswat.
The government would be playing a facilitator by creating a regulatory framework and infrastructure. Saraswat said private airlines were expected to come forward. There were more than 150 airstrips throughout the country identified by the government for this plan. These were built during the World War II and were lying unused. These could be used for setting up the feeder airports after necessary renovation, he said.
06/02/16 Shishir Arya/Times of India
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